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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Spend City Day Clowning Around

Www.circusfestival.ruThe Moscow International Youth Festival of Circus Arts gives circus performers from around the globe an opportunity to show off their various talents.
Circus artists from all over the world have gathered in Moscow to perform at the Moscow International Youth Festival of Circus Arts, which coincides with City Day. Four days of performances by circus professionals and amateurs of all ages will start Thursday and culminate with a gala concert and an awards ceremony on Sunday at the Nikulin Circus on Tsvetnoi Bulvar.

The annual festival was created in 2001 by Boris Fedotov, himself a circus artist with 42 years of experience. Since then, the event moved from VDNKh to the Nikulin Circus in the city center, and gathered some clout in the profession. Every year the artists change, but the jury includes circus directors from renowned festivals in Monte Carlo, Paris and Budapest.

"I dreamed of participating in an international circus festival," Fedotov said. "Unfortunately, it didn't come true, but we want to give that opportunity to young performers today."

The circus profession, a tight community where multigenerational circus dynasties worked in Soviet state circuses, is changing today, Fedotov said. No longer on lifelong support from the government, artists are forced to re-invent themselves and seek out the international spotlight at various festivals like the one in Moscow, where agents from circus companies are scouting for new talent. "One way the Russian circus changed is that there are more and more amateur troupes in small towns that don't perform for money," Fedotov added.

Over the year preceding the contest, organizers review about 500 potential participants by watching submitted videos and traveling the country to watch regional troupes. They invite over 100 performers, who compete over the course of four days. Besides Russia, artists come from China, Spain, Mexico and several other countries.

The circus on Tsvetnoi Bulvar is one of the oldest in Russia, directed for many years by Yury Nikulin, Russia's most famous clown and a much-loved comedy actor. Since 1997, the circus has been run by his son, Maxim.

The contest is organized into two tiers and a final gala on Sunday, with prizes handed out at the 7 p.m. show.

The Moscow International Youth Festival of Circus Arts will take place at the Nikulin Circus, located at 13 Tsvetnoi Bulvar. Metros Tsvetnoi Bulvar, Trubnaya. Tel. 621-1403, 628-8084. Tickets start at 250 rubles.

The shows take place from Thurs. to Sat. at 7 p.m. and Sun. at 2.30 p.m. and 7 p.m.